THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
India strategic dialogue—and marked the formal policy adoption
As many previous contributors to this magazine have pointed
out, official visits represent a fruitful mechanism through which
to bring policy ideas over the finish line. This is most clearly visi-
ble at the head-of-state level, but the same benefits can flow from
trips by Cabinet officials and high-ranking civil servants. During
President Barack Obama’s first months in office, senior officials
from the Department of Energy, National Security Council,
Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Export-Import Bank
and the Trade Development Agency all traveled to New Delhi
to probe the potential for bilateral clean energy collaboration.
Some senior Indian officials reciprocated those visits, of course.
That outreach paved the way for the November 2009 trip to
Washington by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh—the
first state visit of the Obama administration—and Pres. Obama’s
first visit to India a year later. Embassy New Delhi, Washington
interagency stakeholders and our Indian counterparts used
these visits as action-forcing events to deepen the high-level
commitment on both sides to make the Partnership to Advance
Clean Energy a reality.
A Big Enough Sandbox for Everyone
From the outset, the NSC played a pivotal role, endorsing the
PACE concept and using its convening power to bring together
all U.S. government stakeholders. In relatively short order, a
dozen U.S. agencies and departments joined the initiative.
Through this process, we learned to frame our objectives broadly
enough to allow many different organizations to help realize a
deliberately ambitious agenda. It was critical for diverse partici-
pants each to be able to add unique value, be mutually support-
ive and avoid wasting time with turf battles.
Over countless conference calls between Washington and
New Delhi, we became one U.S. team working to shape PACE
and a coherent strategy for its implementation. Through iterative
conversations, we identified the resources and expertise that
each stakeholder organization could bring to the table. We used
the time in between calls to socialize prospective commitments
within our respective organizations and with our Indian counter-
parts, reality-checking our aspirations and inevitably recalibrat-
ing as we went.
Converting the political will behind PACE into meaningful,
wide-scale dissemination of clean energy technology also meant
creating an enabling environment for clean energy markets to
develop. That, in turn, required extensive technical training and
capacity building, regulatory policy development, collabora-
tive research and financial investments both small and large.
In short, the vision and the brand of PACE needed to be many
things to many different players, since the figurative, as well as
literal, buy-in required myriad champions.
While government agencies were the primary drivers of the
initiative, the Indian-American diaspora—tech-savvy and well
represented in science and engineering-intensive businesses
and academic organizations—helped mobilize additional Indian
Setting the PACE
As we implemented PACE, we identified three distinct lines of
effort within the broader initiative: research and development,
deployment and financing. The organization with the strongest
core competency and track record of work in each focus area
naturally took the lead in that line of effort and brought along
The Department of Energy led the clean energy research and
development effort, which we nicknamed PACE-R. The U.S.
Agency for International Development and Embassy New Delhi
led efforts to supply the policy and technical assistance neces-
sary to create an enabling environment for rapid and widespread
clean energy deployment: PACE-D. In addition, OPIC, ExIm
Bank and TDA collaborated to set up a Clean Energy Finance
Center focused on the specific challenges associated with clean
energy finance. All the while, each of these subgroups remained
open to including new partners, and leveraged their pooled
resources to bring others together in turn.
The example of PACE-R is illustrative. Led by the Department
of Energy, which oversees the tremendous expertise resident in
multiple national energy laboratories, the PACE-R team came
A solar-powered street light in a village in India.